South Sudan became the newest country in the world in 2011. While there is great hope for this nation, communities are facing multiple threats.
What is the current situation in South Sudan?
Food insecurity, conflict, climate change, gender inequalities, and now coronavirus, are just some of the challenges that millions of our South Sudanese brothers and sisters face daily.
There are huge needs across the country:
- 8.3 million people are projected to need humanitarian assistance in 2021, which is an increase on last year’s figure.
- 7.2 million people are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity, around 60% of the population.
- Half of South Sudan lacks access to safe water.
Decades of fighting before independence and more conflict afterwards, combined with floods and droughts, has forced millions of people to leave their homes. Over 3.8 million people are displaced within South Sudan or are now living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Since mid-2020, more than 500,000 people have been displaced because of flooding.
Women and girls are particularly affected by conflict, facing challenges of gender-based violence, little decision-making power, and lack of access to resources.
Coronavirus is now another pressure on an already weakened healthcare system, with cases being reported in locations through the country. Beyond the initial health needs, coronavirus has proven a “triple threat”: an increase in food prices beyond the ability of the poorest to absorb, reports of an increase in violence against women and girls, and exacerbating other health problems.
What work is CAFOD doing in South Sudan?
In April 2015 we merged our operations in South Sudan with those of Trocaire, our sister agency in Ireland, to increase programme scale and impact, while reducing administration and support costs.
CAFOD and Trocaire both have a long history of working in South Sudan through Church and non-Church partners who support vulnerable people – of any or no faith - in communities:
We are supporting families with crop production through provision of seeds, tools, and training in climate-friendly agricultural practices, so communities are resilient to future shock and strains. We work with volunteers and agricultural groups who share trainings and support each other - some groups are beginning to sell seeds to others.
We are providing food and essential household goods to people who have returned or been displaced by conflict or climatic pressures such as floods. We work with local communities who welcome those who were forced to leave their homes.
We provide safe water for communities, installing and fixing water pumps. We work with communities to establish 'water user committees' who oversee use of the pumps, and train mechanics who can fix them if they fall into disrepair.
We are promoting justice and peace, working with Church partners to bring communities together for non-violent resolution to conflict. We are working with those who have been affected by conflict with psychosocial support.
In the UK, we continue to campaign for the British government to help maintain long-term peace and development in South Sudan.